INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Ajla Tomljanovic of Croatia beat American Hailey Baptiste 6-2, 2-6, 6-2 in opening-round play at the BNP Paribas Open on Wednesday.
Ekaterina Alexandrova of Russia overcame American Elvina Kaliera 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (7) despite 18 double faults as the combined men’s and women’s event returned to its usual March place on the calendar after being disrupted by COVID-19.
The tournament was one of the first major sporting events to be canceled in March 2020 when the pandemic shut down the world. It was moved to October last year and played with few spectators in the stands.
Beatriz Haddad Maia defeated 2020 Australian Open winner Sofia Kenin 6-3, 7-5. Kenin was a finalist at the French Open two years ago but couldn’t capitalize on her success. She struggled last year, and her ranking has dropped to 130th in the world this year.
Alison Riske routed Caty McNally 6-0, 6-3 in an all-American matchup.
Kaia Kanepi defeated 17-year-old American Robin Montgomery 6-3, 6-3. Montgomery, winner of the junior girls’ singles and doubles titles at the 2021 U.S. Open, connected on 57% of her first serves but had nine double faults.
Other first-round winners were Americans Ann Li, Claire Liu and Katie Volynets, Petra Martic and Misaki Doi.
The women’s draw is missing the world’s top two players — Ash Barty and Barbora Krejcikova. Barty said she hasn’t sufficiently recovered after winning the Australian Open and Krejcikova has an elbow injury.
Novak Djokovic said he will not be able to compete at Indian Wells or Miami because he is unvaccinated and can’t travel to the United States.
The five-time champion in the desert tweeted the Centers for Disease Control “confirmed the regulations won’t be changing so I won’t be able to play in the U.S.”